Saturday, May 31, 2014

Apache: More Deeds of Naiyenesgani

This story is part of the Apache unit. Story source: Jicarilla Apache Texts edited by Pliny Earle Goddard (1911).


More Deeds of Naiyenesgani


The Monster Fish

A monster fish which lived in a lake swallowed anyone coming near it. Naiyenesgani came there and was swallowed by the fish which swam to the center of the lake and lay in deep water. Naiyenesgani, sitting inside of the fish, began singing ceremonial songs, that the fish might move to the shore of the lake. When he had finished his songs, he cut off the heart of the fish which raced with him toward the shore, throwing the smaller fish and water far away. It fell with him at the shore of the lake. Naiyenesgani, with his obsidian knife, cut openings in the neck of the fish through which he went out, carrying the heart in his hand. He gave it to the sun, saying, "Here, carry this where he cannot get it again." That is why a fish has a series of openings on the sides of its neck.



Naiyenesgani Removes Certain Dangers

At that time a trail passed between a cliff and a stream. TsedagediLîsdîhî, a monster, sat by this trail. His home was in the large stream flowing by. When anyone passed along the trail in front of him, he kicked him into the water where the children of the monster ate the victim and only his red bones floated to the surface. The people passed along there and TsedagediLîsdîhî kicked them down.

Then Naiyenesgani came there and asked, "Where does the trail go through?" "There," he told him. He came there and made motions as if to pass through. The monster, kicking, missed him. "Where does the trail pass?" he asked. "There," he told him. He came there and made motions as if to pass. The monster, kicking, missed him. "Where does the trail pass?" he asked. "There," he told him. He made motions as if to pass again. The monster missed when he kicked at him. Then Naiyenesgani kicked him into the water. When his children had finished eating him, they said, "It was our father's meat." His bones, very red, floated to the top. Naiyenesgani came there and sent the young ones out.

Then he was about to lie with his wife. He pounded some sumac sticks and twisted them together. Having them in his hand he went with her and when she lay down for him, he inserted the sticks first. Her vulvae were provided with teeth by means of which she killed men. She cut these sticks with her teeth and he destroyed them. After that she had no such teeth. Before that, cutting the men with her teeth, she had killed them.

Then the reeds needed for arrows stood at the junction of two canyons. When anyone came there for arrows the rocks closed on him and killed him. Notwithstanding the danger, people continued coming for arrows and were killed. Naiyenesgani came there, made as if to pass four times, and then went to the reeds and broke some of them off. The rocks did not come together. He carried the reeds out and distributed them so that everybody had arrows. He did that.


The Killing of the Bear

When some children were playing, one of them said, "I will be a bear." He made a pile of dirt which the other children carried away in their hands until it was all gone. In their absence, he made claws for himself of hide fleshers and muscles of the larger hide dresser. With these, he dug a deep hole into which he went so far that he could not be seen. When he came out, he was covered with hair to his elbows and knees. He went in again and came out with hair to his shoulders and hips. When he came out the third time, his body was nearly covered, and the fourth time completely covered with hair.




He went among the people, running in and out, and killing the children. He went off to the Navajo country and hid his heart near some oak trees at a place called "open-mouth-bear." He then came back and again began to kill the people. Although they shot arrows at him, they could not hurt him.

Naiyenesgani went to the Navajo country carrying his war club. The bear, seeing the danger, started to run to the place where his heart lay. Naiyenesgani ran after him and came to the heart first. As he came near it be heard the oak leaves lying over it, making a noise like "ca a ca a". It was the beating of the heart that made them move. Naiyenesgani, making motions four times, struck the heart, and the bear, running close behind, fell dead.


The Origin of Sheep and Cattle

Naiyenesgani went around looking in vain for monsters. When he failed to find any he started off in this direction, toward the Mescalero country. He climbed to the top of White Mountain and looked about in all the different directions in vain. There were no monsters. Then he threw away his staff. "You will get your living by means of this," he said, and right where he threw it, it became a yucca.

Then he washed from his hands the pollution from the killing of the monsters and threw it in different directions. "With this you will live," he said, referring to the Mexicans. That is why sheep and cattle have a bad odor. The dirt he washed from his hands became cattle and sheep.

All the monsters were gone.

The Mescalero live upon the staff which he threw away, the Mexicans live upon the cattle and the sheep. That is why Mexicans have many sheep and cattle. He spoke to them this way.





(1000 words)






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